Courtesy Linda Stupart and Carl Gent
Artists and performers Carl Gent and Linda Stupart present their new co-written play commissioned for the ICA Theatre on the occasion of the exhibition I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker
As our boat rocked in that terrible place – the sky buzzing with Black Hawk helicopters and snowy white egrets – I had the distinct feeling that we were suspended not in water but in amniotic fluid, immersed in a massive multi-species miscarriage.
– Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, 2014
Deep within a number of stalks, the water is rising up from the bottom; the marsh is mucking and rising, thickening dead fish skins; theres no need to come when everything is sparse, thick and sparks; i come fast.
– Kathy Acker, Pussy King of the Pirates, 1996
Acker’s final published text, Eurydice in the Underworld, harnesses the Greek mythology of the heroic trip to hell; refocusing the story’s centre away from the male hero and onto the dead girl, who has been murdered by a snake.
Katabasis refers both to a journey into the underworld, and a trip to the coast. In times of climate crisis, hell – the realm of the dead, the scorching, the boiling, the rotting – is also situated at the sea, as waters heat, melt and rise.
In this low-fi musical extravaganza – which flows between beach and underworld – Carl Gent and Linda Stupart animate the animal, alien, and abject actors in our current climate apocalypse – most notably Ecco the Dolphin, who has lost their pod and must (like Eurydice, Orpheus and so on) travel deep beneath both time and space to rescue their missing and possibly dead kin.
Only a fool will now attempt to stop us girls. To halt our ecstatic singing. The death of season isn’t blackness, but another kind of light.
All Us Girls Have Been Dead for so Long is performed by Clémentine Bedos, Andrew Ferguson, Carl Gent, Linda Stupart, Kelechi Anucha and Virgil B/G Taylor, with a guest appearance by Sam Keogh. Costumes are by Susan Jane Dunford and music is by Perple Celotape.
Carl Gent is an artist from Bexhill-on-sea whose recent work has sought to re-fictionalise the life of Cynethryth, the 8th-century Queen of Mercia. Recent exhibition include Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Act II, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-sea; The Balls of Alban, Seager Gallery, London; Our House of Common Weeds, The Newbridge Project, Gateshead; Paperwork: iilwimi lipsing; Young London, V22 Silvertown; No Matter, Manchester; hmn14, Benet’s Hill, London, I’d do this all day if I could, PEER, London and Multiplex, KELDER, London.
Linda Stupart is an artist, writer and educator based in London and is interested in objectification, abjection, science fiction and revenge. They have recently performed and shown work at Transmission Gallery in Glasgow and Raven Row, Lisson Gallery, IMT Gallery, Matt’s Gallery and The Showroom in London. An excerpt from their novella Virus is featured in the exhibition I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker alongside new wall drawing A dead writer exists in words, and language is a type of virus, 2019.